Are renal vasoconstrictor antagonists effective for the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS)?

Updated: Oct 16, 2017
  • Author: Deepika Devuni, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Saralasin, an antagonist of angiotensin II receptors, was used first in 1979 in an attempt to reverse renal vasoconstriction. Because this drug inhibited the homeostatic response to hypotension commonly observed in patients with cirrhosis, it led to worsening hypotension and deterioration in renal function. Poor results were also observed with phentolamine, an alpha-adrenergic antagonist, highlighting the importance of the SNS in maintaining renal hemodynamics in patients with HRS.

A case series by Soper et al reported an improvement in the GFR in 3 patients with cirrhosis, ascites, and HRS who received an antagonist of endothelin A receptor (BQ123). [29] All 3 patients showed a dose-response improvement in inulin and para-aminohippurate excretion, RPF, and the GFR in the absence of changes in systemic hemodynamics. These 3 patients were not candidates for liver transplantation and subsequently died. More work is needed to explore this therapeutic approach as a possible bridge to transplantation for patients with HRS.

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